Alumni Spotlight

Jazlyn Andrews ('17)





Jazlyn Andrews, a member of Dr. Heidi R. Lewis’ 2015 #FemGeniusesinBerlin, graduated with a degree in Feminist and Gender Studies from Colorado College in 2017 and currently works as a freelance writer in Denver, CO. You can find her work on Book Riot and Function of Beauty. She recently co-edited In Audre's Footsteps: Transnational Kitchen Table Talk with Dr. Lewis and Dana Maria Asbury. In Audre’s Footsteps honors Black radical traditions set forth by W.E.B. Du Bois, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Angela Y. Davis, and Audre Lorde, all who were intellectually influenced by their experiences in Berlin.

I don’t necessarily remember the moment I decided that I wanted to be an FGS major, but I do remember it being a culmination of the class material, the types of conversations and the ways in which they were conducted in the classroom, and the people with whom I was sharing classes. We were often discussing really heavy and complex topics but in ways that were accessible and genuinely fun. The classrooms were challenging and joyous spaces, which was a combination I wasn’t necessarily finding in other departments. As an FGS major your perspective of reality will be probably be shattered many times, but it will be done with the upmost care and in a way that brings forth a sense of renewal. That feeling of being in awe after leaving the classroom or while doing my reading was what kept me inspired to continue with the program.

One memory that is forever burned in my brain is of Heidi literally running around our FYE classroom performing her rendition of some song from Beauty and the Beast to show us how warped many of the stories we consider “romantic” are. Actually, that may have actually been the moment I decided to major. There are so many funny and joyful memories flooding my mind right now, but taking Heidi’s class in Berlin, “Hidden Spaces, Hidden Narratives: Intersectionality Studies in Berlin” probably takes the cake. The class itself is an example of building transnational bonds but it was also invaluable to be a part of sessions that were conducted by artists, activists, and educators who are taking feminist frameworks and applying them in their work. It was one of those moments where I went, “Oh, okay, so this is possible.” It really expanded my expectations for what I could potentially do after leaving CC.

Since graduating I have been working as a freelance writer and working in retail while I figure out my next steps. You can find my work on Book Riot and Function of Beauty.

Heidi has always been champion of students and is never shy to share opportunities, which is not the type of support you’ll find at just any college or in just any department. I’m still figuring out the words to describe this experience, but in short it was an absolute honor. Heidi will forever be one of the most important teachers and mentors in my life, so to be able to work with her on In Audre’s Footsteps: Transnational Kitchen Table Talk was a bit surreal. One thing that people often ask FGS majors is, “What are you going to do with that?” This book, in part, offers an answer to that question. Throughout the book’s conversations, it is impossible not to see how one’s politics are deeply imbedded and interwoven with one’s intimate personal life. It can be a little bit jarring to take what you’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to other areas of your life, whether that’s your job or relationships. One thing I really appreciated about being able to work on this project was recognizing that we are all experiencing that jarring feeling to a certain extent. The conversations that Heidi, Dana, and the contributors have with one another are such a guide for how to create space for oneself and community while negotiating systems of oppression. To be able to work on this project in the midst of COVID, a very isolating time of uncertainty, was particularly special. Don’t get me wrong, it was a daunting task at times to edit another person’s words and stories, but each time I closed my computer I felt as if I had left a group of friends talking around the dinner table. The conversations will haunt you in a way that leaves you wanting them to linger. I think we should all be so lucky to find work that leaves us feeling more whole. With this project, I found just that.

To students who are majoring or minoring in Feminist & Gender Studies, I encourage you to consider how you want to carve out a space of your own while at Colorado College. Allow yourself the room to make mistakes and don’t shy away from the messiness of this time of your life. Challenge yourself to confront the internal conflicts that arise as you continue your FGS education and don’t strive to be perfect. You will make mistakes and you will continue to learn and grow from this point on, so allow yourself a chance to do so. Folks who are considering a minor or major—do it! No, but really, ask yourself what you want to out of your time at CC. In my opinion FGS is the most versatile degree you can get. It provides you a framework that will guide you in whatever you choose to do after, so I sincerely encourage you to ask yourself what type of education it is that you are seeking right now and how it can carry you forward.

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